Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the mood to sew

Today while Big Bear was at preschool, Little Bear took a nap-- meaning free time for mama! I have lots of projects to work on, but most are at a stage that does not involve sewing (like cutting or measuring or basting). And I just wanted to sit at my machine and sew.

Paintbox quilt along blocks with sashing added to one side
So, even though it is down at the bottom of my priority list, I pulled out my Oh, Fransson! Paintbox Quilt Along project. Because that one was at a stage ready for stitching. And look at what I accomplished-- 80 blocks, now with sashing attached!

Sometimes, catering to one's mood is just the right thing to do.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenge :: 3 Success!

Amy's Creative Side One Thing One Week Challenge button

Woo hoo! Now I don't want to show too much, but...

Pinwheel Party quilting progress
My Pinwheel Party quilt along is quilted! And I've even managed to finish more than half of the edges! Because of the prairie points, I had to leave at least an inch unquilted all along the sides in order to allow me to turn them to the back and finish the edges. So once the edge finish is done, I'll have to go back and quilt all those unquilted edges (because I think it would look a little weird if I didn't). Hopefully, I can get the remaining edges finished tonight or tomorrow. Then that little bit of quilting should go pretty quickly. So close!

I think I can pretty honestly say that if it weren't for the motivation this challenge provided, this quilt would still be sitting in a basted state. But, knowing I had the challenge "deadline" really pushed me to get it done over the weekend. (Apparently, just knowing that the baby it is for is now 3 months old wasn't motivation enough.) Once again, many thanks to Amy for throwing down the gauntlet and getting me going!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jane Stickle Quilt: M-6

Jane Stickle block M-6Block number/name: M-6 “Simplicity”

Date completed: September 23, 2010

Number of pieces: 25

Notes on block: A happy block! It turned out really well, especially considering all those inset seams. And I love the leafy green-grey fabric. 209 blocks complete!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jane Stickle Quilt: BR-7

Jane Stickle block BR-7Block number/name: BR-7 “Cheryl’s Clown”

Date completed: September 22, 2010

Number of pieces: 25

Notes on block: It is fall premiere week on television. So last night we sat down and watched some shows, which meant I had to have something to stitch while we watched. This block was kind of a funky one. I pieced all of it but for the top right and left edges of the center triangle—those I appliqu├ęd onto the chevron-shaped green section in the center. Frankly, I’m surprised it actually turned out as well as it did, and nice and flat to boot. I’m thinking more TV means more stitching tonight!

I just realize it has been awhile since I've mentioned my Little Bear. He is doing awesomely well! He's growing like a weed, has started to sleep on a schedule (though he is still waking up more than I'd like at night), and is a super happy little boy. Behold the cuteness:

Little Bear, 4 months old
I can hardly believe that he is nearly 5 months old now. It is going by too fast. Seriously, way too fast.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On fabric and memories

Pillowcases are so quick and easy. I actually got all of my pile done in just 3 days. Love it! Now I just need to get them packaged and ready to deliver in time for my next quilt guild meeting (ConKerr Cancer is one of the charities we support, so I can just drop them off there).

stacks o' pillowcases
Final count: 27!

As I was making these, it really struck me that I have memories associated with a lot of these fabrics. One of them has even been in my stash for nigh on two decades (eep!). Working with these fabrics just brought to mind so many things-- places, interests, projects unfinished (or never started), people, random things. Indulge me as I wax nostalgic for a bit...

card pillowcases
I've had this fabric in my stash since 1992-- long before I even started quilting! I used this fabric to make a shirt for my mom, a bridge fanatic, for mother's day. I know there are no dice in bridge, but it was the only playing card fabric I could find! It was my freshman year at Pacific Lutheran University. I remember laying it out on my dorm-room floor and cutting out the pieces. She wore that shirt to shreds. Apparently I bought way too much, because I had nearly 3 yards left still!

frog pillowcases
In addition to bridge, my mom loves frogs. Or maybe I should say, LOVES frogs. She has a massive collection of frog paraphernalia-- figurines, posters, jewelry, collectibles, stuffed toys, and more. Every so often, she would mail frog fabric to me, just because she liked it. And then I found myself buying more frog fabric, always thinking that I'd use it to make her a shirt or a quilt or something. Indeed, I did make quilts and other things for her using frog fabrics-- but somehow, I still have a ton of them. It's nice to finally use them for such a good cause!

more frog pillowcases
More frogs! And I still have way more frog fabric than any one person needs. So I'm sure there will be more frog pillowcases in my future. And that rainbow swirly print? That was the 2002 Hoffman Challenge fabric. There was a stretch of years where every year, I'd say to myself, "I'm going to do the Hoffman Challenge this year!" And every year, I'd buy two yards of the official fabric. Of course, I have yet to enter one of their challenges. But it's nice to see one of the fabrics going to good use.

Pokemon pillowcases
A few years ago, I went through a Pokémon phase. My then boyfriend (who is now my husband) and I played the original Pokémon Red/Blue Gameboy games, played the card game, and even watched the cartoon (and I even have two of the soundtrack albums from the movies!). I was obsessed. So it only made sense to have fabric too.

other fun prints
And then there are those other fabrics... ones that I only had bits of, leftover from other projects and those fun prints that I bought because I loved them. I just finished reading Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove (great book, by the way!), and that Alexander Henry "Desert Friends" print just makes me think of that... I think the only animal depicted on that fabric not mentioned in the book is the roadrunner. Anyway, it feels good to finally use these fun prints!

Making these pillowcases has been a fun trip down memory lane for me. Do you ever find yourself picking up a piece of fabric and just remembering?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Greenpiece blocks complete!

Happy first day of Fall! Woo hoo! It is my favorite season. I've always associated fall with freshness and new beginnings (probably from my many years as a student, always looking forward to the new school year). I also love all of the beautiful autumn colors, the crispness in the air, and all of the fun holidays (my favorite is Thanksgiving!). I got married in the fall too, making it even more special.

Last fall, I started in on the Moda Greenpiece block of the month. Now, a year later, there is an end in sight.

Pieced block 10:

Greenpiece pieced block number 10
These were the last center blocks! Left to do: trim and piece the center blocks together, complete one pieced border and then two (simple) outside borders. I'm not pressuring myself to finish (I have other projects that are higher priority), but am excited about how close I'm getting to the end. I think this is going to be a wonderful quilt!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stashbusting

Recently, my friend Evelyn realized that she was never going to be able to create quilts out of all of the fabrics she had. So she decided to cut into a bunch of her stash and make pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer. She has already made more than 100!

Inspired by her, I decided it was time to let go of some of the fabrics in my stash and actually use them. So the other day, I picked out fabrics and then started cutting.

a big pile o' cut fabric
After cutting through about 25 yards of fabric, here's my pile of future pillowcases.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenge :: 3

Amy's Creative Side

It is hard to believe that it is already time for another one of Amy's One Thing, One Week Challenges. Crazy, I tell you! But I'm looking forward to this one because finishing it will mean I'm on the home stretch of my Pinwheel Party quilt.

My goal for this week: quilt my Pinwheel Party quilt!

I actually started quilting it over the weekend, but I haven't gotten very far. In fact, I've torn out more stitches than I've put in at this point... I'm having a lot of problems with all of the bulk at the center of my pinwheels. Ugh. But I shall persevere, and next week (hopefully!) I'll be ready to finish some edges.

I'm finding these challenges to be very motivating and a lot of fun. It is so great to read about what others are challenging themselves to do and then see what they have accomplished at the end of the week, and everyone cheers each other on. It's like a big cheerleading party! Go team!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A prize!

Woo hoo! As if just completing my One Week, One Thing Challenge weren't fabulous enough, I actually won a prize for doing it too. Look what I just received in the mail this week:

Sandy Gervais Adoring charm pack
Oooo... I love me some Sandy Gervais!

Thanks so much to Amy for hosting this great challenge, and to Natalia of Piece N Quilt for providing the prize.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another mini-project

Recently the Sewing Republic site featured a pattern from Juliette Lanvers of Chickpea Sewing Studio for making a diaper clutch. It's essentially a folding changing pad with a pocket to hold wipes/diaper. So handy! And I definitely needed a nice, compact changing pad.

diaper clutch closed
I bought the fabric last month when we went on vacation, and finally got the chance to put it together just the other day (while Big Bear was at preschool and Little Bear took a nap).

diaper clutch open
Mmmm.... super-soft minkee for the inside!

It went together really quickly and I'm totally thrilled with how it turned out (though maybe I could have been a little more patient as I machine stitched the binding down... it's a little messy-- but it does the job). I also finally used one of my customizable buttons that have been languishing in my stash. Cute! It is not a huge pad (it finished around 10" x 22"), but I think it will work fine on-the-go.

diaper clutch in the diaper bag
And it fits perfectly inside my diaper bag.

I'm loving these quick projects! They make me feel so accomplished.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First day of school!

This year, Big Bear is going to 3-day preschool. In the welcome-to-school letter from his teacher, only two required supplies were listed: a photo (to post on his storage cubby) and a tote bag. And seeing that, I immediately decided I had to make my boy's tote bag.

Mail Sack, outside view

I used the Mail Sack pattern from Pink Chalk Studio. I originally bought the pattern for myself. But did you know that it includes both an adult version and a child sized one? How cool is that?!



The main body of the bag finished at about 12" x 12". I don't know how long the straps are exactly, but I just used the pattern as-is with no alterations (though the pattern does include instructions for ensuring a perfect fit). It turned out just right for my three-and-a-half year old little dude.







Mail Sack, inside view
There are even some fun little pockets inside. I chose a back-to-school print, mostly because my son loves buses and letters and the print features both. The accent fabric is from In the Beginning's Oceanica line, and I used a Riley Blake dot for the lining.

The bag went together super-fast and it is awesome:

a happy boy and his school bag
He loves his new school bag! (Though I think he's even happier about going to school!) :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jane Stickle Quilt: H-4 & H-5

Jane Stickle block H-4Block number/name: H-4 “Abbey’s Eyes”

Date completed: September 6, 2010

Number of pieces: 7

Notes on block: My first block in nearly a month! I just haven’t been very crafty lately. I keep hoping I’ll snap out of it and start feeling productive and motivated again. Finishing a block sure feels good. I used the freezer paper/starch technique for the diamond, but somehow I still managed to curve one edge. Maybe I’m just out of practice?



Jane Stickle block H-5Block number/name: H-5 “Michael’s Motorcycle”

Date completed: September 6, 2010

Number of pieces: 20

Notes on block: Two blocks in one night! Woo hoo! I’m not sure how I managed it. But I’ll take it! Now, if I could just get around to cutting out some more…